House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

Post-Secondary EducationOral Questions

December 12th, 2006 / 2:30 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, I think it is time that the hon. member actually worked with the facts for a change. He is confusing his government and the $4 billion that it cut from post-secondary education with the investments that we are making to help students, including $1 billion in infrastructure, including a textbook tax credit and including increased eligibility for Canada student loans.

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister says one thing; the government's briefing books say another. It is time for the minister to be honest with Canadians.

It is clear the Conservative ideology is that if people are poor, if they are homeless, if they are aboriginal, if they have disabilities, they do not count.

Why has the government turned its back on people who want to learn to read and write or who want a decent job and a better life for their family?

Government ProgramsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member would like something to look at, I suggest he look in the mirror, because that is where he will see where all those cuts were made.

This government, Canada's new government, is investing in students, investing in adult learning, investing in over 800,000 working Canadians through our apprenticeship programs, our child tax credits, to create the people with skills that will fill the jobs that are needed, the ones that the previous government did not even bother with.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, across Canada women are protesting the ideological cuts of the government and the removal of equality provisions. Now there is more evidence that over the next five years $1.8 billion will be cut from skills development programs that directly affect women trying to upgrade literacy and other skills to enter the workforce.

The minister has carried out the single largest attack on women's services in the history of this country. Does the minister not understand that her job is to defend women, not to attack them?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. the President of the Treasury Board.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. Order. The hon. the President of the Treasury Board has been recognized to answer this question. The House is going to want to hear his answer.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is certainly entitled to her own opinion, but the member opposite is not entitled to her own facts. I say to the member opposite very directly, where did she find this alleged briefing note? On the grassy knoll?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the minister is not allowed to answer her questions.

The minister's cavalier attitude toward women knows no bounds. In a letter to me on November 28 she stated that the women's program will receive $10.8 million, but there is no mention of the reallocation of the $5 million that she cut. Now her story has changed. She does not know whether she is coming or going.

Yesterday, the minister tried to justify closing 12 regional offices by saying women can use the Internet. Does she have any idea how contemptuous that sounds when many women have no access and offices are thousands of kilometres--

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I think we have to again reiterate the straight facts.

Ten point eight million dollars in the women's program was there, is there and will be there. Five million dollars that was found in streamlining and more efficiency for Status of Women will be seen in the next budget for women's projects that are going to help women directly in the community.

We know that we can provide the resources needed to support women in every community, not just where offices were located.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is about to spend $4.9 billion for aircraft that the Pentagon no longer wants because they have so many defects.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of National Defence tell us that if Canada wishes to purchase these planes for $188 million, or three times the cost to Americans, who paid between $44 million and $67 million per plane, it is because the Lockheed Martin officials declared that they have fixed the main defects of these planes?

We are about to pay three times the price for planes that the Americans no longer want.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I read the news reports. They are based on information provided by competitors that is basically fallacious. There are no technical problems with the C-130 and we are getting them at the proper price.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, official U.S. reports list the main defects of these planes and the U.S. wishes to terminate its contract.

Does the Minister of National Defence realize that he is no longer a lobbyist and that his job is not to maximize a company's profit at the expense of taxpayers, but to make the best investment with taxpayers' money?

That is his work. Above all we must never repeat the error already made when we spent millions of dollars to buy old submarines that never worked properly.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the requirements were set by the military. This aircraft meets the requirements. We will not purchase paper aircraft or paper trucks.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry announced yesterday—and this is by no means good news for the regions—that deregulation of telephone service was a good thing for consumers, because it would lead to greater competition.

If the minister is so sure that subscribers in outlying regions will not be the victims of this dubious strategy, can he assure us that the regions will not ultimately be paying the price of the short term and short lived rate reductions in the major centres?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the question is clear, and the response will be equally so. In the document we released yesterday, this government has no intention of changing any of the regulations in Canada's outlying regions. The status quo will remain, and the regions will enjoy reasonable and competitive rates.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's approach will still prevent regional subscribers from enjoying the same rights as urban subscribers.

Is this why the minister, who talks of openness and transparency, plans to hold consultations on his proposal in the middle of the Christmas break, between December 15 and January 15.

Does the minister not realize that he would not have acted any differently had he wanted to impose his opinion and that this approach leaves him looking ridiculous?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, we presented a proposal for reform so that all Canadians might benefit from competition. In cities where competition exists, it is not normal for a government body to be setting rates.

Accordingly, the market will now set the rates. Consumers will benefit from competitive prices, better service and, in the end, the telecommunications industry will provide services that meet consumer needs.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister asked members of the House to come forward with all they know about the Arar affair. Let us see, on June 23, 2004, the Prime Minister said that there had been mixed messages, “not just in the House of Commons, but to us privately, even, by--I'm probably not at liberty to say much here--authorities in this country, that had suggested the deportation of Mr. Arar was appropriate. And then we found out later that may be not the case”.

What did the Prime Minister know on June 23, 2004 that he was not at liberty to disclose?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I tried to follow that as closely as possible. There was a long sequence of events being articulated there.

I can tell the House what has happened. The Prime Minister has given very clear direction right from the beginning of this affair which took place under the federal Liberal government. We wanted to get answers. We have received and accepted all 23 recommendations of Justice O'Connor's report.

I was pleased to table in the House of Commons the second part of the report today and also pleased to table the information relating to an inquest into three more individuals. That needs to be followed up in terms of what happened to those individuals under the previous Liberal government.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we will support any attempt by the minister to change his profession to that of a comedian because Canadians deserve a minister who will deal with this issue seriously. Canadians expect us to ask these questions. The Conservatives may not like them, but they have a responsibility to answer them.

Canadians are uneasy given the historical attitude of the Conservatives toward Mr. Arar. We want clear answers. What was the private information given to the Prime Minister about Arar and who gave it to him?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are all quite aware in our present profession that a backup position is always a good thing to have, and any assistance members opposite want to provide me for my future, I would be interested in pursuing.

I can also say that one former minister after another, including the present Leader of the Opposition, sat around the cabinet table and apparently did not even ask questions on this, on the sponsorship scandal nor on funds that went missing. Never mind June 23, on January 23 of this year Canadians made a decision that they wanted parliamentarians who would get answers and get action for them.

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry played Santa Claus yesterday to the large telecommunications companies by unveiling his plan to deregulate telecommunications, which will create a significant imbalance between rural areas and urban centres.

Mr. Charles Tanguay of the Union des consommateurs denounced this travesty, saying that this is a huge Christmas present for Bell, TELUS and the other telecommunications companies, but in the end, it will be the consumers who are left to foot the bill.

Does the minister not realize that, while trying to play Santa Claus, he is in fact acting more like the Grinch?

Telecommunications IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise here today to explain to my hon. colleague what happened yesterday.

The government made a proposal yesterday that would allow all Canadians to benefit from competitive telephone services. It is not right that Canadians cannot benefit from competitive prices in 2006, and the reform we are currently proposing to Parliament is a pro-consumer reform.

We believe that consumers will benefit from increased competition, with no negative effect on the industry in Canada's remote areas.